I’ve been thinking a lot about adultery — not in the ‘that would be fun’ way — but in the ‘how would I handle it?’ way. Of course the Sperminator got the ball rolling but a salacious affair at my daughter’s school got me and my husband talking.
This particular affair is surprising for it’s mundane qualities — a married dad and a married mom had an affair for a couple of years. It finished up one doomed relationship and the others have chosen to work it out — in full view of the other parents in the schoolyard. Our schoolyard isn’t different than yours, the same thing is probably happening right now at your schoolyard and throughout the hallways across the country. In my neighbourhood the ones I know of include a father having an affair with his son’s Kindergarten teacher, a friend getting “her ducts cleaned” by her contractor and two moms getting it on before lunch pick-up.
We can’t really know what goes on in a marriage and the secret arrangements and deals that spouses make with each other. Marriage is a compromise and we all make those compromises in our own way. I don’t know how I would handle the knowledge that my husband had an affair and I’m not sure how he would handle it if I did. I think marriages can go on after affairs but there are lines that should not be crossed.
The thing I find particularly galling when it comes to both Schwarzenegger and the less famous dad in my schoolyard is that they chose people to fool around with that their wives see everyday. (Understanding that the Guv may have had many others littered around town). And that is the part that seems so awful to me. Assuming that you have secretaries and interns and some other willing participants, why do you choose someone that your partner has to interact with? That seems to be the most humiliating part, the knowledge that one party thinks they are talking bake sales and childcare and the other person is thinking: “If you only knew what he did to me last night”. Isn’t the “Ha!” just assumed there?
When I brought this angle up with my husband (how do I know he doesn’t cheat? the man is very germ-phobic that alone will stop him), he didn’t get it. He just said all cheating is bad, how can you rank one as worse than another?
Well of course there is a ranking! From the forgivable night with Angelina Jolie to the unforgivable carrying on with a best friend. That is a continuum that women understand to be true. But did men miss the memo?
Is there a scale onto which you would graft a transgression? Do you think that you could forgive your spouse for stepping out? Could you make it work after an affair? I’m not sure the answers are knowable. I’m hopeful I won’t have to find out, you?